Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
Published on January 25, 2019
Mission Beach Cafe reopens after Health Department shutdown for severe rodent infestation [Updated]Photos: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

Bad news for fans of Mission Beach Cafe: Hoodline tipster Alex B. alerted us that the Department of Public Health shut down the popular brunch spot at 198 Guerrero St. (at 14th St.) on Wednesday.

The restaurant's permit to operate has been suspended because of "an imminent public health risk," according to a food inspection report viewed by Hoodline. Specifically, Mission Beach Cafe was found to have a severe rodent infestation, and was also delinquent in paying its license fees.

During this latest inspection, Mission Beach Cafe earned a safety score of 65 out of 100. The Department of Public Health categorizes scores of 70 or less as "poor," indicating "several high-risk violations." The most recent previous inspection of the restaurant, in 2017, earned a score of 70. 

According to the inspector's report, a live cockroach was found on a pipe under the restaurant's sink. Another roach, which was already dead, was discovered inside a hot holding proofing unit, a warming chamber used for baking and keeping food warm. The inspector said the unit, located in the restaurant's storage shed, was dirty and moldy.

In the storage shed, the inspector also found mouse droppings on several canned goods, on the sugar bucket and on cardboard cupholders. They also noted a heavy accumulation of food debris and grease inside the restaurant's refrigerators and on food contact surfaces, such as counters or shelves.

The first page of the report. | Picture: Via Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health also advised the restaurant to pay its delinquent 2018-2019 license fees and to provide proof of a food safety manager's certificate, as its current one expired two years ago. To become a food safety manager, a candidate must complete an 85-question certification exam with a score of at least 75 percent; no training class is required.

Mission Beach Cafe was also urged to store all its raw meat, poultry and seafood properly. Raw chicken was found stored above ready-to-eat foods and other raw meats. Additionally, the cafe has to repair inoperable refrigerators; potentially hazardous foods stored inside them were voluntarily discarded.

It's not clear when Mission Beach Cafe will reopen. A sign posted on its doors on Thursday morning stated that the cafe will be closed in the morning and for brunch, due to an expired Health Department permit. "We will reopen later this afternoon," it reads.

When a Hoodline reporter walked by later in the afternoon, the restaurant had not reopened.

We have reached out to Mission Beach Cafe for comment multiple times, but have not heard back as of press time.

Update, 1:33 p.m.: As of noon today, Mission Beach Cafe's "permit to operate is reinstated and the facility is now approved to reopen to the public,” according to a SFDPH inspector. 

The inspector said that pest control operator for rodents and cockroaches has visited the premises, holes have been sealed and delinquent license fees have been paid.

A Hoodline reporter dropped by the cafe shortly after noon, and it appeared to be open to the public once again.

Update, 2/1: Mission Beach Cafe owner Bill Clarke sent us the following statement via email:

"While every restaurant can do better, procedures I thought were in place (and ask about regularly) were not up to par. The Health Dept. visit was a reminder to be more vigilant. When you focus too much on the quality and consistency of the food, you are not absolved from daily maintenance. We have recommitted to such maintenance.

But, it is difficult to know how much of their inspection was evidence gathering for a glass half empty indictment (it felt that way) as opposed to a measured overview. Inspectors previous to this regime conducted a more balanced approach to guide you instead of focusing on the negative and punishing for it. I know we are not as bad as portrayed in their report. Our score minus the 'infestation' would have been quite a bit higher..."

Thanks to tipster Alex B. See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll try to find out what's going on: (415) 200-3233.